COMPARATIVE STUDY OF ORGANIC FERTILIZER AND INORGANIC FERTILIZER ON ONION YIELD

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CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

Onion (Allium cepa L.) is one of the most important vegetable crops commercially grown in the world. It probably originated from Central Asia between Turkmenistan and Afghanistan where some of its relatives still grow in the wild. Onion from Central Asia, the supposed onion ancestor had probably migrated to the Near East (Grubben and Denton, 2004; Bagali et al., 2012).

The crop onion is a popular vegetable and its bulb is used raw, sliced for seasoning salads, and cooked with other vegetables and meat. Onion bulbs are essential ingredients in many African sauces and relishes. The leaves, whole immature plants called ‘salad onion’ or leafy sprouts from germinating bulbs are used in the same way. In some parts of West Africa, leaves still green at bulb harvest are propounded, and then used to make sun-dried and fermented balls, which are used later for seasoning dishes. Sliced raw onions have antibiotic properties, which can reduce contamination by bacteria, protozoa or helminths in salads (Grubben and Denton, 2004).

Onions are day length sensitive, several onion types exist depending upon the latitude at which they grow. It is estimated that around the World, over 3,642,000 ha of onions are grown annually. On a worldwide scale, around 80 million metric tons of onions are produced per year. China is by far the top onion producing country in the world, accounting for approximately 28% of the world’s onion production, followed by India, USA, Iran, Egypt, Turkey, Russia, Pakistan, Netherlands and Brazil. The worldwide onion exports are estimated at around 7 million Metric tons. The Netherlands is the world’s largest onion exporter with a total of around 220,000 Metric tons followed at a distance by India (FAO, 2013). (Lemma and Shimeles, 2003; Nikus and Mulugeta, 2010). Onion production in the country is increasing from time to time. During the 2013/2014 cropping season, the total area under onion production was estimated to be 24, 375.7 ha with an average yield of about 9.02 tons per hectare and estimated a total production of greater than 2, 19, 735.27 tons (CSA, 2014).

Nutrients play a significant role in improving productivity and quality of vegetable crops. Onions are the most susceptible crop plants in extracting nutrients, especially the immobile types, because of their shallow and unbranched root system; hence they require and often respond well to addition of fertilizers (Brewster, 1994; Rizk et al., 2012). Therefore, optimum fertilizer application and cultivation of suitable varieties with appropriate agronomic practices in specific environment are necessary for obtaining good yield of onion.